The Scottish Police Federation represents all police officers in the ranks of constable, sergeant, inspector and chief inspector, police cadets and special constables; over 18,500 people, 98% of all police officers in Scotland.
Chairman’s New Year Message
Whether the Police Service of Scotland had been created or not, 2014 would have turned out to have been one of the most momentous in the history of policing in Scotland.
From the extreme weather and murder of Mikaeel Kular at the start of the year through to the horrific events in George Square a few days before Christmas, Scotland’s police officers were at the heart of almost every major event that took place in this country during 2014.
We have always known that when it comes to dealing with tragedy and death, the police service is there looking after those who need support and delivering comfort to those who need it most. We also know that without the phenomenal commitment and tolerance for disruption police officers have and endure, that almost any public entertainment event simply would not go ahead. Whether music festivals, sporting events like the Commonwealth Games or Ryder Cup or the Hogmanay celebrations that will take place all over our country in the hours ahead, none could take place without the sheer professionalism and efforts of the men and women of the Police Service of Scotland.
No look back on 2014 would be complete without a mention of the referendum. In the midst of campaigning fever the need to remind some of their civic responsibilities and highlight the dangers of talking up trouble was a low point in what had otherwise been a remarkably well mannered and invigorating campaign for the citizens of Scotland.
The Police Service of Scotland has come a long way in 20 months but much remains to be done. The pace of change has been frantic and exhausting and whilst more is inevitable, the service must be given the chance to catch its breath.
There can be little doubt that much will frustrate us and the pain of yet further austerity due to be visited upon the public sector will be felt in 2015. The projected police budget will see the services we are able to deliver to our communities jeopardised and sadly the prospects for any meaningful pay increases are poor indeed.
Add to this mix the new demands created by global threats like extremist terrorism and human trafficking to domestic expectations in dealing with child exploitation and internet crime and we can see that reducing finance and increasing demand is fast taking the service to crisis point.
Politicians will undoubtedly seek to make hay on any shortcomings but can no longer be let off the hook of refusing to deal with the realities of the financial shackles placed upon the police service.
Police officers and public sector workers in general deserve more than derision when the slightest opportunity to criticise presents itself and much more than to be used as a photo opportunity when a good news story is to be told.
Scotland’s citizens deserve world leading public services fit for 21st century challenges. These challenges simply cannot be met with 20th century funding and 19th century political attitudes.
The Police Service of Scotland has delivered the largest reform of any public sector body in living memory but the men and women who form part of it simply cannot be expected to pay for that reform through worsening pay and conditions.
Whoever forms the next government or makes up any coalition, 2015 must be the year when the Government takes it foot off the throat of the public sector.
Whoever is elected in Scotland in May must make sure they work for Scotland and ensure the funding coming north of the border is capable of maintaining our public services and delivering fair pay for their dedicated employees.
The contribution of Scotland’s police officers in 2014 has been simply outstanding and all who live here or visited cannot help but be impressed by the quality of our world leading police service. As a police officer I know that our families and friends provide invaluable support for the job we do and put up with a great deal. We simply couldn’t do it without them.
To all I extend every best wish for the New Year and lang mey yer lum reek.
SCOTTISH POLICE FEDERATION GROUP TRAVEL INSURANCE
ACE European Group Limited who provide the travel insurance element of the Scottish Police Federation’s group insurance scheme have advised us that with immediate effect they are unable to provide cover in respect of anybody travelling to Cuba.
Anyone intending to travel to Cuba should contact us immediately to discuss the matter further.
Discussions are ongoing with ACE European Group Limited and any further developments will be notified in due course.
The Metropolitan Police Federation have sent the following communication to our Chairman,
Just a quick note to say how much we in the Metropolitan Police Federation are thinking of you and especially your officers who have had to deal with so much devastation in Glasgow – please let them know we are thinking of them as they deal with some dreadful scenes. We know you and your Federation colleagues will be supporting them, but I always feel it is important to show solidarity.
Very best wishes to you and yours for Christmas and hoping for a peaceful and healthy New Year.
Chairman, Metropolitan Police Federation”